- Chili's is seeking to distinguish the traditional going "out to eat" mantra with the experience of going "Out to 'Ita!" at its restaurants with its latest campaign, according to press materials shared with Marketing Dive.
- The latest campaign from the Brinker International chain includes a TV spot that focuses on the sounds of the its sizzling fajitas and shaken margaritas, along with elements across digital radio, social media and email. Chili's wants to entice people to break traditional dining out rules, and defines going "Out to 'Ita!" as "laughing so hard you pee a little" and using smartphones to look at memes and make TikTok videos.
- Additionally, the campaign will include an experiential event in April that aims to bring the lively atmosphere promised in the commercial to life at its restaurant locations. The experience will include a hot molten lava room inspired by the company's popular dessert, according to press materials.
Chili's "Out to 'Ita!" effort looks to make dining out more fun for families by utilizing a variety of tactics across a multichannel campaign. In the TV spot, the sizzling and shaken sounds of its fajitas and margaritas — the "itas" in the campaign's tagline — are similar to the sounds used in autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) videos, which have also been used by brands including Bacardi, Reese and Sodastream.
A forthcoming experiential event, which features a hot molten lava room, looks to make dining at its restaurant a larger experience. Most notably, Taco Bell last year evolved the idea of an experiential activation with its takeover of a hotel and resort in Palm Springs, California, which sold out in two minutes.
Chili's pushing the dine-in experience is an interesting pivot, after a recent marketing effort that was aimed at propping up delivery. In the fall, the chain created #ChilisMyHouse merchandise designed to recreate the Chili’s dining experience at home, including a custom doormat, a branded TV tray, a baby back ribs-scented candle to "make your whole house smell more like a Chili's," and a trivia card.
Delivery will likely still play a key role for the chain, as Chili's CMO Ellie Doty told Marketing Dive that delivery and off-premise puts the brand in competition with fast casual and QSR visits. But this in-restaurant push also comes after partner platforms like DoorDash are coming under scrutiny by restaurants who are pushing for more regulations on delivery platforms that threaten their business.